Last month, as the iGaming world met at SiGMA Europe at the last major industry meet of the year, we enjoyed an exclusive tête-a-tête with Viktor Ishkov, Head of Global Marketing and Strategy of leading software developer GR8 Tech.
SiGMA, as we know, is a milestone event with fantastic learning and networking opportunities; so what could be more apposite than exploring “how to build winning brands” with such a winning and unique brand that is GR8 Tech.
So listen up and find out from Viktor why it was so important for GR8 Tech to be part of the Malta summit – and, most importantly, get his expert analysis of what it really takes to be a winner in the wonderful world of iGaming.
First up. The iGaming industry has a plethora of conferences and events taking place all over the world. How do you decide which ones are worth your while? And why was it so important to come to SiGMA Europe this year?
“We’re soon marking our first anniversary since launching. Taking part in SiGMA was a great way to celebrate our upcoming birthday.
“As a market-leading B2B company, we only want to work with the biggest, most reputable, and trustworthy companies who run events – and SiGMA is definitely one of them. We really see the value of the event and it pays to be here. It’s a playground for industry peers to share ideas and it’s also a great place just to be present so we can meet with partners and not just work, but have fun, and spend some quality time networking with the heart of the iGaming industry.”
At SiGMA this year, one of the hottest topics was how to build winning brands. How has tightening iGaming regulation impacted our industry’s ability to actually do this?
“Throughout my marketing career, I have worked in a variety of sectors that have all faced regulatory challenges. It’s been this way for the last two decades. Over the years there has been plenty of research conducted on the market and it’s absolutely evident that regulation only stimulates creativity.
“What I’ve witnessed in iGaming is that the greater the regulation, the more talented professionals our industry attracts. Why? Because our industry, correspondingly, requires smarter people, smarter marketing approaches and different, keener, styles of communication. Regardless of your marketing discipline, it will require a very smart and targeted approach with cool creativity as the foundation. Perhaps paradoxically, as a result it means that if anything our iGaming industry profits and hugely benefits from tightening regulation.”
One of the biggest innovations to hit the iGaming market recently is artificial intelligence-driven products. These have the ability to transform the way that operators approach marketing and CRM activities. What potential do you think AI has for the iGaming sector, and how will it change the role of marketers?
“Speaking from the perspective of an iGaming software company, there is huge potential for it to change the role of marketers going forward.
“Our company philosophy is centralized around being able to give the end-user the best possible customer service. We are able to do this, at scale, largely due to our AI-driven technology. This is the backbone of our CRM services. It helps us as marketers in two main ways: Building and analyzing customer profiles to get a better understanding of behavioural patterns.
“This enables us to build different customer journeys based on real-time data and literally to create specific campaigns for every single customer. Coupled with this, AI technology has also allowed us to develop customisable front ends. This means that when the customer interacts with our website, it can instantly adapt to show the player only what they’re interested in and recommend new games that we know they’ll like.
“These new capabilities from AI are great. However, it still requires human input and creativity to develop products to their highest potential. It requires people who can sync over different modeling patterns, and leverage AI to benefit the company the most. The only thing that artificial intelligence will not change is the creative brain of human beings. So that’s why we are completely safe on the marketing side.”
SiGMA attracts key stakeholders from across the globe representing exciting new regions everywhere that offer amazing expansion opportunities. Which markets are you most excited about for 2024, and what do you think will be the main growth drivers?
“As a B2B Company, we already operate in 15 countries and emerging markets are the driving force of our market expansion. We are very keen to extend our presence in Latin America. Like most people, we’re very interested in Brazil and we’ve just recently launched in a new South American market. It’s a project that we’re very excited about and we will be officially announcing it to the industry very soon.
“Outside of LatAm, we’ve recently established some key operator partnerships in five African countries. And we plan to launch these operations in the first half of next year.
“Asia is another exciting potential market for us. The population of India is a hugely impressive 1.5 billion, and it’s still growing. At the same time, mobile penetration is also growing in that region which presents a huge opportunity for us and the rest of the international iGaming industry.
“We already have one client in India and the experience we’ve gained from this project has enabled us to develop more Asia-specific products. So we’re hoping for a lot more activity in this region going forward.”
It’s GR8, forgive the pun, to hear all of the exciting opportunities for market growth that Viktor has identified!
Emerging markets such as Africa and LatAm are maturing, bringing with them better infrastructures and regulations for competitive iGaming markets to grow and prosper.
While a fragmented regulatory market will undoubtedly cause challenges for multijurisdictional operators, solution providers like GR8 Tech can leverage these issues as opportunities to innovate and bring fresh ideas to market.
Technology, indubitably, will be a key factor in being able to build a winning brand going forward. And scaling-up operations is always a challenging task. But Viktor believes that new tech, such as AI, can only be of benefit to businesses – and marketing departments, in particular.
AI and associated tech innovations shouldn’t be viewed as a threat to your job, but rather a tool to turbo-drive market expansion, being steered all the while by the unique magic of human creativity.